Last year, wages and salaries adjusted for inflation increased by 2.2 percent in private industry—the same change as in 1997. The 1998 increase marked the sixth year in a row that inflation-adjusted wages and salaries rose.
Since its inception in the mid-1970s, the Employment Cost Index for wages and salaries in private industry adjusted for inflation has increased in 14 years and has fallen in 9. The largest increase in the constant-dollar ECI for wages and salaries occurred in 1982, when it rose by 2.4 percent. The steepest decline took place in 1979, when the constant-dollar ECI for wages and salaries fell by 4.1 percent.
The Employment Cost Index is a fixed-employment-weighted index that tracks quarterly changes in labor costs, free from the influence of employment shifts among occupations and industries. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is used to adjust the ECI for inflation.
These data are a product of the BLS Employment Cost Trends program. Annual changes are December to December. Find out more in Employment Cost Indexes, 1975-98, BLS Bulletin 2514.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Movements in constant-dollar wages and salaries, 1976-98 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/nov/wk1/art01.htm (visited December 10, 2023).